For many couples, the transition from the honeymoon and early marriage to parenthood is difficult. It’s no secret that all relationships take work. This is no exception when you and your partner decide to have a baby. The truth is that many men experience much of the same anxiety and anticipation that women do during pregnancy.
Becoming a new dad can be stressful as there are many unknowns like adjusting to a new routine, worrying about finances, and how to care for a newborn. Each parent has a separate, important role in their child’s life. While fathers are just as important as mothers, some may be unsure of their place in their new family structure. By addressing these concerns before a baby is born, you can be most prepared. This allows you to be a source of support to your partner before, during, and after childbirth.
How to prepare for fatherhood
As a new dad, you’re preparing for the big day that you become a parent. The more involved you are, the more prepared you will be to start your parenting duties. Some ways to prepare for becoming a new dad, include:
Learning your partner’s birth plan — It's recommended that all the details of the birth plan are in writing. However, understanding the plan helps you be an advocate through the entire birthing experience.
Taking a childbirth education class — This helps you understand the entire process, which makes it less scary or stressful. A prenatal boot camp answers important questions such as the challenges of parenthood or how to care for a new baby. These informative classes help new dads learn what to expect after becoming a parent. During these classes, men learn how to care for a newborn and ways to support their partner after childbirth.
Building your own support team — While you and your partner have the support of healthcare providers and family, it’s important that you have people you can ask for advice during this transition to parenthood.
Stress associated with becoming a parent
Like other major life milestones, becoming a parent can be stressful. But, learning your sources of stress can help you address them head-on. The adjustment period from being a family of two to becoming a family of three or more may be the most stressful.
If your employer offers paternal leave, apply for benefits. You can reduce your stress by taking time to adjust to becoming a new dad before starting your normal work schedule.
A study reported three main factors that can significantly affect a new dad’s mental health and well-being during the transition to parenthood:
- Fatherhood identity
- Challenges of the new fatherhood role
- Fears related to becoming a father
Connecting with your new family as a new dad
Learning ways to connect with your new family after becoming a father can help keep stress away. During your baby’s earliest days, take extra time to nurture and care for them. These first days build the important foundation of bonding between you and your child.
Kangaroo care is an integral part of the bonding experience where you hold your child skin-to-skin on your chest. This allows them to hear your heartbeat and the sound of your voice, which makes them feel protected.
When you or your partner should see a doctor for postpartum depression
These symptoms can be experienced by both mothers and fathers. Paternal postpartum depression is common because — just like new mothers — new fathers experience hormonal changes after a baby is born.
Some of the most common symptoms of paternal postpartum depression in men are:
If you or your partner are experiencing signs of postpartum depression, see a medical professional right away.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
JBI Database of Systematic Reviews and Implementation Reports: "Mental health and wellbeing during the transition to fatherhood: a systematic review of first-time fathers' experiences."
Novant Health: "Tips and advice for new dads during labor and delivery."
NPR: "How a Prenatal 'Bootcamp' For New Dads Helps The Whole Family."
The University of Chicago Medicine: "How can fathers bond with their newborns?"
Top What Should a New Dad Expect After a Baby Is Born Related Articles
What Are the Disadvantages of a Single-Parent Family?As a single parent, you will have more things to look after, from finances to the house and kids. You may have to multitask your way through the day. This can affect both you and your children.
How Can Parents Control Their Anger Towards Their Children?As a parent, when you learn how to control or manage your anger in a healthy way, you can teach children how to handle their anger better too.
New Parents MistakesParenting a child isn't easy. Explore the top 10 mistakes that new parents make. Discover newborn parenting tips for breastfeeding, learn to deal with crying babies, child's fevers, and more.
ParentingGood parenting helps foster empathy, honesty, self-reliance, self-control, kindness, cooperation, and cheerfulness, says Steinberg, a distinguished professor of psychology at Temple University in Philadelphia. It also promotes intellectual curiosity, motivation, and desire to achieve. It helps protect children from developing anxiety, depression, eating disorders, antisocial behavior, and alcohol and drug abuse.
Parenting: Baby Proofing EssentialsLearn how to keep curious fingers away from everyday hazards in your home. This WebMD slideshow helps you see where you need to baby proof.
Life After Baby ArrivesWhat are surprises new parents when they bring a baby home? Learn about infant sleep, getting help, adult relationships, and more, and discover how to make the most out of your experience with a newborn.
Parenting Guide: Healthy Principles That WorkGood parenthood isn't magical. It takes learning, dedication, and hard work. Learn how to set rules, offer love, and discipline children appropriately and set yourself on the track to becoming a better parent.
What Age Is Hardest to Parent?A recent survey showed that parents of 12- to 14-year-old teens had a harder time than parents of toddlers, elementary school children, high school children, and adult children.
What Are the Advantages of a Single-Parent Family?Children in a single-parent family can be just as happy as those in a two-parent family. You can build a great relationship with your child and make them an independent individual.
What Are the Qualities of a Good Parent?While every child has individual needs, authoritative parenting strategies will benefit almost every child. Parents should express love and affection, set limits, and maintain a cordial relationship with their kids.
What Mistakes Do New Parents Make?All new parents do their best to take care of their babies and toddlers. But no matter how prepared you feel, you’re still learning along the way. Use these tips to avoid nine common mistakes new parents make.